Portal:Catholicism

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Introduction

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The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Catholic theology is based on the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the pope is the successor to Saint Peter upon whom primacy was conferred by Jesus Christ. It maintains that it practises the original Christian faith, reserving infallibility, passed down by sacred tradition. The Latin Church, the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, and institutes such as mendicant orders and enclosed monastic orders reflect a variety of theological and spiritual emphases in the church.

Of its seven sacraments the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in the Mass. The church teaches that through consecration by a priest the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated in the Catholic Church as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, honoured in dogmas and devotions. Its teaching includes sanctification through faith and evangelisation of the Gospel as well as Catholic social teaching, which emphasises voluntary support for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world.

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King Henry VIII of England

The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.These events were part of a wider process, the European Protestant Reformation, a religious and political movement which affected the practice of Christianity across the whole of Europe during this period. Many factors contributed to the ferment: the decline of feudalism and the rise of nationalism, the rise of the common law, the invention of the printing press and increased circulation of the Bible texts, the transmission of new knowledge and ideas not only amongst scholars but amongst merchants and artisans also; but the story of why and how the different states of Europe adhered to different forms of Protestantism, or remained faithful to Rome or allowed different regions within states to come to different conclusions (as they did) is specific to each state and the causes are not agreed.
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The Seven Sacraments
by Rogier van der Weyden (ca.1448)

"The seven sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, are efficacious signs of grace perceptible to the senses. They assist individuals in their spiritual progress and growth in holiness.

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A millennium-old Byzantine mosaic of Saint John Chrysostom, Hagia Sophia

John Chrysostom (349– ca. 407, Greek: Ιωάννης ο Χρυσόστομος, Latin: Ioannes Chrysostomos) was the archbishop of Constantinople. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. After his death (or, according to some sources, during his life) he was given the Greek surname chrysostomos, meaning "golden mouthed", rendered in English as Chrysostom.The Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches honor him as a saint (feast days: November 13 and January 27) and count him among the Three Holy Hierarchs (feast day, January 30), together with Saints Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian. He is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a saint and a Doctor of the Church.
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Basilica view from the aisle of Stations of the cross leading to Our Lady's Pond

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Saint Margaret Clitherow (15561586) is an English saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church.She was born as Margaret Middleton, the daughter of a wax-chandler, after Henry VIII of England had split the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. She married John Clitherow, a butcher, in 1571 (at the age of 15) and bore him two children. She converted to Roman Catholicism at the age of 18, in 1574. She then became a friend of the persecuted Roman Catholic population in the north of England. Her son, Henry, went to Reims to train as a Catholic priest. She regularly held Masses in her home in the Shambles in York. There was a hole cut between the attics of her house and the house next door, so that a priest could escape if there was a raid. A house in the Shambles once thought to have been her home, now called the Shrine of the Saint Margaret Clitherow, is open to the public (it is served by the nearby Church of St Wilfrid's and is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough); her actual house (10 and 11, the Shambles) is further down the street.In 1586, she was arrested and called before the York assizes for the crime of harbouring Roman Catholic priests. She refused to plead to the case so as to prevent a trial that would entail her children being made to testify, and she was executed by being crushed to death – the standard punishment for refusal to plead.
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Divine Mercy

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